A congressional inquiry into Boeing’s troubled 737 Max airplane blamed both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for a series of serious failures that “played instrumental and causative roles” in two fatal crashes of the plane, which left 346 people dead, including eight Americans.
The report documents what it says is “a disturbing pattern of technical miscalculations and troubling management misjudgments” by Boeing, combined with “numerous oversight lapses and accountability gaps by the FAA.”
Lion Air flight 610 crashed in October 2018, and Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed in March 2019. Both carriers were flying the Boeing 737 Max aircraft.
House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) in a statement accused Boeing of placing profit ahead of safety.
“Our report lays out disturbing revelations about how Boeing—under pressure to compete with Airbus and deliver profits for Wall Street—escaped scrutiny from the FAA, withheld critical information from pilots, and ultimately put planes into service that killed 346 innocent people,” he said.
The issues highlighted in the report include production pressures that jeopardized the safety of the flying public, faulty design and performance assumptions, a culture of concealment, and excess influence of Boeing over the FAA’s oversight structure.
“On behalf of the families of the victims of both crashes, as well as anyone who steps on a plane expecting to arrive at their destination safely, we are making this report public to put a spotlight not only on the broken safety culture at Boeing but also the gaps in the regulatory system at the FAA that allowed this fatally-flawed plane into service,” DeFazio said.
The regulatory agency added that it has launched initiatives aimed at “improving [its] organization, processes, and culture.”
The FAA stated that it is also mandating “a number of design changes to the Boeing 737 Max before it returns to passenger service.”
DeFazio said the committee report lays out a road map for reinforcing regulatory transparency and aviation safety. Steps include restoring FAA’s and Boeing’s safety focus and improving safety cultures.